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Mucking up the Mac

Why can’t new Macs boot into OS 9?

Speaking as a Mac user, the recent announcement that the new Macintosh line of computers will be made to prevent any booting into Mac OS 9.x is unfortunate, particularly for the Mac-dominated music fields, and other areas that are still needing full OS 9.x compatibility, let alone OS X compatibility.

It’s one thing to push for more OS X development. However, to deliberately cripple the versatility of computing hardware is stupid on any computing platform.

The ability to boot under OS 9 should not be blocked by any software patch and deliberately crippling the versatility of the Apple computing hardware harms Mac users. It certainly will increase the demand for older unsold and for refurbished Power Macintosh models that are able to boot into Mac OS 8.x/9.x for at least the next few years until Mac OS X has matured a whole lot more.And note there will still be things that will only work right when booted under the traditional Mac OS (as opposed to an emulation of the traditional Mac OS). It also can be effectively used as harsh anti-Mac point by the majority of platform vendors.

Martin Totusek, Seattle

An article in your July 2002 issue (“It’s just a sample”) contains an important factual error. It reads, “Musicians who perform live pay a flat fee every year to BMI and ASCAP to cover the eventuality that they will perform other people’s music.” It isn’t true. While I can’t speak for other organizations, BMI does not have a music license for musicians and does not charge them a fee. The venue owners or promoters where the music is performed are held responsible for any performance fees that may apply. The same policy applies to DJs who perform in these venues. DJs are not licensed by BMI. While DJs may be required to compensate songwriters when sampling their music in recordings, this is a mechanical rights issue and does not involve a performing rights organization such as BMI. When BMI collects license fees from businesses that play music in public, 84 percent of that revenue is distributed to musicians and music publishers who own copyrights.

Jerry W. Bailey, Director, Media Relations, BMI Nashville

Nelson King’s “The 64-bit question” (July) is generally on the point, but his statement that both the Itanium and the K8 are backward compatible with x86 software is misleading. The Itanium borrows from HP’s VLIW approach, whereas the K8 borrows from Intel’s approach when they went from the 286 to the 386. The Itanium can only do x86 through an emulator, while the K8 handles x86 in native mode, in exactly the same way the 386 handled 16-bit x86 code.

Indeed, there was nothing but 16-bit code for the general public to run on the 386 when it came out, but it was still very successful because it was markedly faster at it than the 286 (which Intel was never able to migrate to protected mode, despite six different attempts ending with the 286G).

Having said that, it could be a long time before the general public will be offered 64-bit programs to run. But the issue for AMD was that the K7 was near the end of its development cycle, and they decided to go with a 64-bit chip that looked backward as well as forward. The fact that the Itanium is now being billed in a $41,000 4-CPU setup and AMD is aiming at a 1-CPU PC for under $3,000 shows a considerable difference in strategy.

Jim Wilson

Editor’s note

As a postscript to September’s Insights column, Aravox Technologies Inc., the company mentioned in the column, closed its doors on Aug. 2. After the September issue was produced, CEO Bill Rich stated, “Though Aravox had unique technology that solved real problems for next generation networks and a strong team, the market for this equipment is unlikely to become significant until at least 2004. The long market development cycle combined with the extreme downturn in the availability of venture capital for early stage companies selling to telecommunications carriers made it impossible to raise additional venture capital from new investors.”

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